Your Career in Environmental Health and Safety

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If you're a career professional who is enthusiastic about the monitoring and protection of both humans and the environment, then you should know that now is a great time to find a job in environmental health and safety. Federal and state governments have never before forged such strong alliances with industry to ensure increasingly effective strategies for maintaining and improving our environment and safety. Career opportunities are growing in this field, and this is an exciting time to be a part of it!

This vocation offers broad choices in diverse sectors of industry. An environmental health specialist can be involved in a wide variety of functions, including the monitoring of water sources such as drinking water; air quality control; food safety and protection; the control of toxic substances including solid waste, hazardous materials, radon, and radiation; the management of institutional environmental health; industrial and occupational safety issues; preparedness for terroristic attacks; and the establishment of bioengineering standards. But first, let's talk about whether you're seeking placement at the administrative or entry level.

At the manager's level, you would be involved in setting policies that impact the entire company or institution. You would have responsibility for developing safety programs, keeping up to date on current government regulations and industry standards, and supervising departmental employees. You would evaluate current approaches to your specific industry and the cost-impact of violations. You would also prepare statistical analyses of industry practices and provide recommendations for quality assurance. The salary for such a position generally ranges from $40,000 to $70,000 per year. At least a bachelor's degree in science is required, in addition to some experience in one of the environmental safety and health subareas.

An entry-level approach to this field is through a position as an environmental health and safety technician. This post can provide the experience you require for subsequent advancement. You should be a viable candidate if you have some past experience in environmental health and safety, even if you're still in the process of earning your college degree. At this level, you would be down in the trenches, so to speak, with your hands right on the problems that affect all of us. Salaries at this level vary from $25,000 to $35,000 per year.

Those who work in environmental health and safety jobs are recognized by the National Environmental Health Association. These professionals attain credentials such as the Registered Environmental Health Specialist, and can become certified as Registered Sanitation Specialists, Environmental Health Technicians, Installers of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, and Registered Hazardous Substance Specialists, among other certifications.

Now let's take a look at a breakdown of the opportunities in this challenging, wide-open field:

Facilities managers sustain a company's physical plant. This includes structural repairs, building and grounds maintenance, construction issues, and the management of HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems. The facilities manager is responsible for security and employee safety plans. Another responsibility is to analyze and reduce the impact of work-related injuries. You would supervise your company's strategic planning, including goal projection and disaster planning.

Environmental health sanitarians protect the air, water, and food sources of an area. In this field, you have to be tactically familiar with local resources and geography. You would become intimately familiar with the impact of local industry on the community. You might be dealing with protected species, water tables, or even pest and noise control. A career in this subspecialty could involve something as extraordinary as the evaluation of airplane emissions.

Water specialists perform a wide spectrum of functions to protect our water resources and scrutinize the disposal of wastewater. You would need to be knowledgeable of emerging pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and other hazards that might invade regional or community water supplies. You might be key to protecting an area's flora and fauna, or your expertise might be called upon to advise federal or state emergency planning agencies.

Industrial hygienists usually work for agencies or institutions monitoring industry compliance levels and residential environmental health issues. If you were to work specifically as an environmental engineering specialist, you would design new facilities and develop policies for new construction so that the community at large would be protected during industrial change and growth. In this field, you have to be knowledgeable about electrical and mechanical standards as well as chemical and sanitation issues. These specialists play important roles serving on rural or urban planning development committees. Some of these specialists work alongside epidemiologists to study the impact of environmental or chemical materials on population infection control. Another area of specialization involves childhood issues such as food safety in schools.

Solid waste engineers protect public safety when it comes to matters of solid and hazardous waste material production and disposal. This could include managing waste transportation or the design of gray water irrigation and water reclamation systems. If you were to work in this area, you would be the person who is the on-site responder to chemical waste spills.

If you feel passionately about our world and the effect you can have on it, then you belong in this field. So, where can you find the best listings of environmental health and safety jobs? At, a division of EmploymentCrossing, experts have searched the Internet for all the available openings in the environmental health and safety areas and have placed them into one easy-to-search database. You can search by area or salary, you can plug in your current credentials, and you can look for perks such as relocation assistance. You will form a professional partnership with the staff at EnvironmentalSafetyHealthCrossing that you will want to maintain even after you find the one position that meets all of your career requirements. Visit today to see what jobs are available!
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